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Norreys Jephson O'Conor's letters to Grace Hazard Conkling, 1918-1932
1 box (.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 311

Abstract:
The letters of O'Conor to Conkling are largely about literary matters, with reference to Amy Lowell, Robert Frost, Siegfried Sasson and Hilda Conkling.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The collection is open to research according to the regulations of the Mortimer Rare Book Room.

Restrictions on use:

The Norreys Jephson O'Conor Letters to Grace Hazard Conkling, 1918-1932, are the physical property of the Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors of the works or their legal representatives.

Mortimer Rare Book Room
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Norreys Jephson O'Conor was born in New York City on December 31, 1885, the son of John Christopher and Maria Jephson (Post) O'Conor. He graduated from Harvard University (A.B., 1907 and M.A., 1911). After working as an editor in various publishing companies, he taught in the English Department at Harvard (1911-1913) and at Radcliffe College (1918-1919). He also taught at Grinnell College (1922-19230), Mount Holyoke College (1923-1924) and at Bryn Mawr College (1924-1926).

O'Conor was known for his work on early Irish literature, as well as his own poetry and prose. He worked in civil defense during World War II in California.

O'Conor married Grace Edith Corson, in Cambridge, Mass., on June 27, 1917. They had two daughters, Moria and Cathleen. Following his divorce from Grace in 1935, he married Evangelia Hawley in the same year. He died in Santa Barbara, California on October 24, 1958.

See: National Cyclopedia of American Biography, v. 37, p. 391.

Grace Hazard graduated from Smith College, Class of 1899. She studied music and studied in Europe before her marriage to Roscoe Platt Conkling in 1905. She had two children with him, but was divorced from him in 1914, at which time she accepted a teaching position at Smith College. Besides her teaching responsibilities, she wrote poetry and short stories that were published in the popular journals of the day. She died on November 15, 1958.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Norreys Jephson O'Conor letters to Grace Hazard Conkling are arranged chronologically. The letters span the years 1918 to 1932. They deal almost entirely on literary matters, with reference to Amy Lowell, Robert Frost, Siegfried Sassoon and Conkling's daughter Hilda.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open to research according to the regulations of the Mortimer Rare Book Room.

Restrictions on use:

The Norreys Jephson O'Conor Letters to Grace Hazard Conkling, 1918-1932, are the physical property of the Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors of the works or their legal representatives.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

The Norreys Jephson O'Conor Letters to Grace Hazard Conkling, Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

History of the Collection

The Norreys Jephson O'Conor letters to Grace Hazard Conkling, 1918-1932, were given to the Mortimer Rare Book Room by the George C. Gordon Library, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Mass., in November 1980. The Head Librarian at that time, A. G. Anderson, Jr., acknowledged that he was uncertain as to how Worcester Polytechnic Institute came into possession of these letters but that they did not fit the Institute's collection or needs.

Processing Information

Processed by Melvin Carlson, Jr., 2009


Additional Information
Contact Information
Mortimer Rare Book Room
William Allan Neilson Library
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2906
Fax: (413) 585-2904

Email: mrbr@smith.edu
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/rarebook
Language
English
Bibliography

Norreys Jephson O'Conor's published work includes:

Battles and Enchantments, Retold from Early Gaelic Literature (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1922)

Beside the Blackwater (New York: John Lane Company, 1915)

Celtic Memories, and other Poems (London: E. Mathews, 1913)

Changing Ireland: Literary Backgrounds of the Irish Free State, 1889-1922 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1924)

The Child's Hansel and Gretel; a Fairy Tale Opera Adapted from the Libretto of Adelheid Wette; Tr. by Norreys Jephson O'Conor (New York: F. A. Stokes, 1909)

The Fairy Bride = TheLennan Shee : a Prologue to Irish Drama in Three Acts (New York: S. French, 1916)

Godes Peace and The Queenes-Vicissitudes of a House, 1539-1615 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1934).

Late Offering (Los Angeles: W. Ritchie Press, 1952)

A Servant of the Crown in England and in North America, 1756-1761, Based Upon the Papers of John Appy, Secretary and Judge Advocate of His Majesty's Forces (New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1938)

Songs of the Celtic Past (New York: John Lane Company, 1918)

There was Magic in Those Days (New York: F. A. Stokes, 1928)


Contents List
SERIES I. LETTERS



Letter, 1918 Jan. 3, 7 Gracewood Park, Cambridge, [Mass. to] My dear Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor writes to Conkling, asking her to give a short reading of her poetry at the Authors Club in Boston. He also asks her if she is going to the Poetry Society dinner in New York and to Miss Rittenhouse's party. He closes by telling her that a copy of his book, Songs of the Celtic Past, is being sent to her at his request.


[3] p.
Box 1: folder 1
Letter, 1918 Jan. 11, 7 Gracewood Park, Cambridge, [Mass. to] Mrs. Conkling.

On a letter card, O'Conor acknowledges Mrs. Conkling's acceptance of the offer to speak at the Authors Club. He mentions that Amy Lowell may come. He also requests that she read her sonnet on Francis Ledwidge, if possible, along with other poems that Conkling selects. He is hopeful that the Ledwidge sonnet and his own review of Ledwidge's book may appear in the same issues of the Yale Review.


[2] p., and envelope
Box 1: folder 2
Letter, 1918 May 22, 7 Gracewood Park, Cambridge, [Mass. to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor thanks Conkling again for her book Afternoons of April and apologizes for any offense his own poems, inspired by her verse, may have caused her.


[2] p.
Box 1: folder 3
Letter, 1918 Oct. 1, 7 Gracewood Park, Cambridge, [Mass. to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor writes Conkling telling her that he is now teaching composition at Radcliffe College, but that he is not writing much himself. He congratulates her on her tribute to Francis Ledwidge published in the same issue [of the Yale Review] as his review of Ledwidge's book. He comments on the political situation in Ireland and notes that he is planning on introducing his composition students to Conkling's poetry.


[3] p.
Box 1: folder 4
Letter, [1919?] Dec. 19, 371 Marlborough Street, Boston, Mass. [to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor tells Conkling that he hopes to see her when she is in Boston in January. He also tells her that Amy Lowell has told him about Hilda Conkling's forthcoming book of poetry. O'Conor requests the privilege of reviewing the book for the newspaper, The Transcript. He closes with best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.


[3] p.
Box 1: folder 5
Letter, [1920] Feb. 9, 24 East 33rd Street, [New York City to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor apologizes for not sending Conkling his sonnet to Francis Ledwidge sooner. He writes the poem out for her on the back of this letter. He also mentions the Poetry Society "seems about to die." He mentions meeting with Mr. & Mrs. St. John Ervine, "the most charming Irish people who have ever set foot in these United States to tour the country."


[3] p., and envelope
Box 1: folder 6
Letter, [1920 Feb. 12], Lincoln's Birthday, 371 Marlborough Street, Boston, Mass. [to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor tells Conkling that Amy Lowell "is reported by Mrs. Russell to be getting on splendidly" and that she is anxious for the New England Poetry Club to entertain Siegfried Sassoon. He also discusses the book he is currently reading, Irish Impressions, by G. K. Chesterton.


[3] p., and envelope
Box 1: folder 7
Letter, [1920] May 12, 371 Marlborough Street, Boston, Mass. [to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor informs Conkling that he has finished his review of Hilda's (Mrs. Conkling's daughter) book, Poems of a Little Girl, for The Transcript, and states how delighted he was with Hilda's book. He also discusses his forthcoming trip to Smith to lecture on the Celtic revival and to read some of his own poems.


[2] p., and envelope
Box 1: folder 8
Letter, [1920] May 20, 371 Marlborough Street, Boston, Mass. [to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor writes to Conkling enclosing a copy of his review of Hilda Conkling's Poems by a Little Girl. (The review does not remain with the letter.) He again comments on how delighted he is to be coming to speak at Smith in the following week.


[2] p., and envelope
Box 1: folder 9
Letter, [1920?] Jun. 11, 371 Marlborough Street, Boston, Mass. [to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor introduces the bearer of this letter, Miss Constance Williston, Smith College Class of 1895, who is at Smith for her class reunion. He also includes a draft of a poem he had just completed, "On the Death of an Old Irish Butler."


[3] p., and envelope
Box 1: folder 10
Letter, 1920 Jul. 6, Southport, Maine [to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor begins by expressing regrets that he was not given the task of reviewing her new book of verse, Wilderness Songs, for The Transcript. Another individual was given that responsibility. He mentions that he received a letter in praise of Mrs. Conkling's poetry from Abbie Brown. Then he writes that he read two of his poems to Amy Lowell, including the poem "On the Death of an Old Irish Butler" that he had sent to Mrs. Conkling in draft. Miss Lowell had liked them both. He also notes that his wife and daughter, Moira, are soon moving up to Southport, Maine.


[2] p., and envelope
Box 1: folder 11
Letter, 1921 Apr. 20, 371 Marlborough Street, Boston, Mass., [to] Mrs. Conkling.

Apparently Mrs. Conkling had written to O'Conor about the possibility of his coming to Smith in some academic capacity. O'Conor responds to her "scheme" and stresses that he would not want to do anything to curtail his own writing. He admits he wants to escape the city life. He then asks to be remembered to Mr. & Mrs. Robert Frost and to Vachel Lindsay. He makes comments on Dorothy Canfield Fisher's Brimming Cup. He likes her craftsmanship, but finds the book dull.


[2] p.
Box 1: folder 12
Letter, [1921] Apr. 21, 371 Marlborough Street, Boston, Mass., [to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor tells Mrs. Conkling that he is to speak to Robert Frost's class in composition at Amherst College on May 20th and hopes that he can visit with her in Northampton.


[2] p., and envelope
Box 1: folder 13
Letter, 1921 Sep. 6, Southport, Maine [to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor writes of the family's plan to spend the winter in Boston. He writes of his delightful visit with Robert Front in June and something of his own writing and attempts at being published.


[4] p., and envelope
Box 1: folder 14
Letter, 1922 Oct. 23, Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa [to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor praises Hilda Conkling's latest book of verse, Shoes of the Wind, though he acknowledges he prefers her Poems of a Little Girl. He was not able to review this latest book as he is now teaching at Grinnell College to replace an "absent professor." O'Conor is teaching three sections of advanced composition, as well as a course in the short story and one in the writing of verse. This is not apt to leave him much time for his own writing. He also hopes that Mrs. Conkling has received a copy of his book, Battles and Enchantments. He gives his home address as: 1415 Broad Street.


2 p., and envelope
Box 1: folder 15
Letter, 1923 Mar. 12, Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa [to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor thanks Mrs. Conkling for her praise of his book Battles and Enchantments. He provides potential travel details to Mrs. Conkling for a visit to Grinnell College, as she is coming west. He tells her of his appointment for the coming fall at Mount Holyoke College and is "greatly looking forward … to being in the East again." He also notes the eminent arrival of either a "brother or a sister for Moria, who is clamoring for a companion." Grace, his wife, is in Des Moines awaiting the birth. Moria has had scarlet fever, so they are all quarantined.


[2] p., and envelope
Box 1: folder 16
Letter, 1923 Mar. 25, 1315 Broad Street, Grinnell, Iowa [to] Mrs. Conkling.

O'Conor relates that he has failed to arrange for a paid speaking engagement for Mrs. Conkling at Grinnell College, but he asks her to visit him anyway. He announces the birth of his second daughter, Cathleen.


[2] p.
Box 1: folder 17
Letter, 1932 Dec. 15, 31, Edwardes Square, Kensington, W.S. [to] Mrs. Conkling.

Apparently Mrs. Conkling had been scheduled to visit the O'Conors at their London address, but circumstances prevented her from coming. The children were disappointed. He writes of his work on his "Elizabethan book" and that newly uncovered material has prolonged his work on it. However, "it will be all the better for the book." He tells something of the life the children are enjoying and their life at Edwardes Square. Also he sends congratulates to Elsa, Mrs. Conkling's daughter, who has "decided upon the Scandinavian after all!"


[3] p.
Box 1: folder 18

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Subjects
  • Authors, American-20th century-Correspondence
  • Conkling, Grace Hazard, 1878-1958
  • O'Conor, Norreys Jephson, b. 1885

Contributors
  • Conkling, Grace Hazard, 1878-1958


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